HOLY MATRIMONY

(As reconstructed  by W. J. Bethancourt III with modifications by the Reformed Celtic Church )

Local laws pertaining to same-sex marriages apply.  A same-sex marriage may not, in some locales, have civil or legal recognition.

THE BETROTHAL

At the day and time appointed for solemnization of Matrimony, the persons to be married shall come before the entrance of the Church with their friends and neighbors; and there standing together, the Man on the right hand, and the woman on the left, with that person who shall give the Woman betwixt them, the Priest shall say,

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in Paradise, and into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, by God's Law, or the Laws of the Realm; let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

And also, speaking unto the persons that shall be married, he shall say,

I require and charge you both, as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, that you confess it. For you be well assured, that so many as be coupled together otherwise than God's Word does allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.

If no impediment be alleged, then shall the Priest say unto the Man,

Name, Will you have this Woman to be your wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep only unto her, so long as you both shall live?

The Man shall answer: I will.

Then shall the Priest say to the Woman,

Name, Will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep only unto him, so long as you both shall live?

The Woman shall answer: I will.

Thus ends the formal betrothal.

THE PLIGHTING OF THE TROTH

They shall then advance unto the Altar, led by the Priest, who shall then turn to the assembled company, and the person who gives the Woman shall place the Woman's right hand in the hand of the Priest, and then shall retire. Then shall they give their troth to each other in this manner:

The Priest, receiving the Woman at her father's or friend's hands, shall cause the Man with his right hand to take the Woman by her right hand, and to say after him as follows,

I, Name.,take thee Name be to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for fairer or fouler, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.

The Woman shall likewise say after the Priest,

I Name. take thee Name to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonny and buxom at bed and at board, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.

THE WEDDING

Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Man shall give unto the Woman a Ring, laying the same upon the Book with the accustomed duty to the Priest. And the Priest shall bless the Ring(s) in the following manner :

Bless these Rings, O merciful Lord, that those who wear them, that give and receive them, may be ever faithful to one another, remain in your peace, and live and grow old together in your love, under their own vine and fig tree, and seeing their children's children. Amen.

And the Priest, taking the Ring, shall deliver it to the Man, and taught by the Priest, he shall say,

With this Ring I thee wed, (here placing it upon her thumb) and with my body I thee honor, (here placing it upon her index finger) and with all my worldly goods I thee endow; (here placing it upon her ring finger) In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If it be a double-ring ceremony, let the Woman do the same as the Man, giving him the ring, and repeating the same words as he.

They both shall kneel down; and the Priest shall say,

Let us pray.. O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; + that, as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof this Ring given and received is a token and pledge, and may ever hereafter remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And here shall be said the "Our Father."

THE HAND BINDING

Priest:  Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Groom and Bride have come here today to be joined as one in marriage. Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has her family's blessing.  Name of Bride, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

Bride: Yes, it is true.

Priest: With whom do you come and whose blessings accompany you.

The bride's father or some other representative of the family steps forward and says,

She comes with me, her father [uncle, brother or aunt, etc.],, and is accompanied by all of her family's blessings.

The family representative withdraws.

Priest: Above you are the stars, below you are the stones, as time doth pass, remember like a stone should your love be firm, like a star should your love be constant. Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your marriage, let the strength of your wills bind you together, let the power of love and desire make you happy, and the strength of your dedication make you inseparable. Be close, but not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience with one another, for storms will come, but they will pass quickly.  Be free in giving affection and warmth. Have no fear and let not the ways of the unenlightened give you unease, for God is with you always.

Name of Groom, I have not the right to bind you to Name of Bride, only you have this right. Is it your wish?

Groom: It is my wish.

Priest:  Name of Bride, I have not the right to bind thee to Name of Groom, only you have this right. Is it your wish?

Bride It is my wish.

Priest: Name of Groom, if it be your wish for Name of  Bride to be bound to you, place your right hand in her right hand. Do you, in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us all, by the life that courses within your blood and the love that resides within your heart, take Bride's name to your hand, your heart, and your spirit, to be your chosen one. To desire her and be desired by her, to possess her and be possessed by her, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of your ove for her  Do you promise to love her wholly and completely without restraint, and shall not seek to change her in any way. but you shall respect her, her beliefs, her people, and her ways as you respect yourself?

Groom:  I do.

Priest: Name of Bride, if it be your wish for Name of  Groom. Do you, in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us all, by the life that courses within your blood and the love that resides within your heart, take Groom's name to your hand, your heart, and your spirit, to be your chosen one. To desire him and be desired by him, to possess him and be possessed by him, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of your love for him  Do you promise to love him wholly and completely without restraint, and shall not seek to change him in any way. but you shall respect him, his beliefs, his people, and his ways as you respect yourself?

Bride:  I do.

The priest binds the hands of the Bride and Groom with a sash of the Groom's tartan (or some other cloth special to the occasion), loosely wrapping it three times around their hands and says,

You are bound by the grace of heaven and by your love which comes from the heart of God.  May you be bound throughout your lives both to one another and to Christ, the blessed Son of God.

The hands are then unwrapped and the sash given to the bride.

The Groom and Bride receive Holy Communion using pre-consecrated Host and Wine.  They kneel facing each other.  The priest offers the host to the groom  and bride saying.

The Body of Christ which was broken for you.

The priest does likewise with the Chalice, saying,

The Blood of Christ which was shed for you.

The Groom and Bride rise and face the priest.

Priest:  By the power vested in me as an ordained minister of God's Holy Church, and on His authority, I know pronounce you husband and wife.  May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you and all your generations.  Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder.

Then shall the Priest speak unto the people.

Forasmuch as N and N have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth each to the other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce therefore that they be Man and Wife together, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

And the Priest shall add this blessing.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you; and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that you may so live together in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.

And here the Priest shall turn the couple to the congregation, and they may kiss each the other, and then proceed from the Altar